Violation of License Restriction

Maryland has some of the strictest drinking and driving laws in the country, and ranked among the top ten states in MADD’s most recent DUI enforcement ratings.  While it is not to be confused with Arizona, which routinely locks up first-time offenders, Maryland DUI laws can be harsh for adults and especially minors.  These laws also extend beyond  actual DUI and DWI cases, and cover violations for alcohol related driving restrictions.  Maryland is one of a few states with zero tolerance laws for underage drinkers who choose to drive.  All drivers under the age of 21 have an alcohol restriction on their driver’s license, which means they are not permitted to drive with alcohol in their blood.  Under Maryland law a person is presumed to have alcohol in their blood if the breathalyzer results or blood test are over .02, and therefore a person under 21 is presumed to be in violation of their license restriction if they have a .02 or higher.  It is a serious traffic offense to violate this restriction that is punishable by up to 60 days in jail.  While a conviction could carry jail, hefty fines and the potential for up to 3 years of probation, it does not carry points.  Any minor who is charged with violating the alcohol restriction on his or her Maryland license also faces the realistic probability of being required to install an interlock device.  Minors or those with provisional licenses may also face license restriction violation tickets for staying out past curfew but this type of restriction does not carry a jail sentence.
Maryland law provides a harsh punishment for any driver that has been ordered to participate in the interlock program but is caught driving a car without the device.  The penalty is up to 1 year in jail and a $1,000 fine for a first offense, and up to 2 years in prison and a $1,000 fine for a second or subsequent offense.  Interlock devices are becoming more common as lawmakers continue to push for the devices to be mandatory in most DUI and DWI cases.  The MVA has already taken steps to require interlock, and the courts will continue to follow suit.  At some point in the future even defendants who are granted PBJ for a first offense DUI will be required to install interlock, and we anticipate seeing police focus more on license restriction violations.  Judges and prosecutors take these offenses seriously, and any offender will likely have at least one DUI or DWI on his or her record, which makes the stakes much higher.
There may be defenses available to any driver who is charged with violating a license restriction, which include challenging the probable cause for the traffic stop.  Minors who are driving at night are often target by police, and this is especially true in areas such as Ocean City and other nightlife areas during the summer and on weekends.  Minors with friends in their vehicles are also especially likely to be targeted by cops looking for drugs, alcohol and weapons.  A driver who is cited for violating an interlock restriction may also be able to challenge the probable cause for the stop, and may have other defenses.  It is important to contact an attorney if you or a loved one is facing a charge for violating a license restriction in Maryland, as these cases routinely end up with jail sentences.  If you have been charged with driving in violation of a license restriction in Maryland contact criminal defense lawyer Benjamin Herbst anytime for a free consultation.  Benjamin specializes in alcohol related driving offenses such as state and federal DUI, out-state-dui and repeat offender cases.  He also has extensive experience representing minors and juveniles in alcohol related charges.
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